According to the Metro, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has fired back at rival bosses Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho after talk of bias in his side’s favour when it comes to VAR.
The Metro add that Blues boss Lampard labelled some of the VAR decisions in United games as ‘strange’, whilst Ole’s predecessor Mourinho claimed that the Red Devils have been ‘lucky’ this season.
Solskjaer launched into full-on defensive mode when pushed on the claims in the pre-match press conference ahead of United’s FA Cup Semi-Final with the Blues tomorrow night.
The Metro state that the Red Devils have had more decisions overturned by VAR in their favour than any other Premier League club, with United also being awarded the most penalties this season.
Claims of bias towards the Manchester outfit went into override after VAR wasn’t even used to assess Wilfried Zaha’s appeals for a penalty after being brought down by Victor Lindelof.
United took the lead just two minutes after the incident and went on to beat Crystal Palace 2-0.
Here’s Solskjaer’s response when quizzed on Lampard’s comments, including a not so subtle dig to Mourinho as well:
“Well, how long have we got? I can sit here for hours now and try to talk about this. It looks like there’s a narrative, it looks like people want to influence whoever is making the decisions.”
“But, I hear people talking about luck, that we’ve been lucky more than unlucky, then if you look at the factual decisions – I don’t want to sound like a certain manager talking about facts – but if you’re offside, you’re offside. That’s clear.”
“Talking about lucky, the penalty we got against Tottenham in the last minute that was taken away from us – that might be two points for us.”
“Talking about the red card that [Oriol] Romeu should have had against us when he got Mason Greenwood almost crippled. That should have been a red card, maybe that would have helped us.”
“Talking about Mark Noble when he should have been sent off against us when we lost to West Ham.”
“Talking about the actual decision that is made, that is against Man United, but it is overturned and corrected.”
Solskjaer then flipped the script by suggesting that the claims by rival managers could now impact referees’ decisions against Man United:
“So there is actually me that should be complaining that we get decisions against us on the pitch by the on-field referee.”
“So there’s a narrative there. But we just have to focus on our games. Let other people talk about that. I don’t want to go too much into that because you might be in trouble.”
“I’m pretty relaxed on these but of course referees are going to be making objective decisions, they’re not going to be influenced by any emotion anyway. So I don’t think they’ll read it.”
It’s of course very worrying that Solskjaer briefly alluded to a ‘narrative’ being pushed by rival clubs that could hurt Manchester United in the final games of the season.
Whilst the Norwegian presented several examples of where the Video Assistant Referee failed to make the correct decision, are Solskjaer’s comments merely an exaggerated defensive method?
Are Solskjaer’s tentative accusations of rival bosses setting up referees to act against United simply a method being used by the baby-faced assassin to deflect interest from his own side after continues suggestions of bias?